The game solidified team chemistry, showed the Cougars they can’t be overconfident and look ahead to the next opponent, and may have established Jones as the go-to guy at crunch time. “When I get the ball and we have a thriller going on at the end of games, I like to get the ball in my hands and forget about being nervous,” said Jones, who averages 13.7 points and four boards per game. “Unfortunately, we haven’t made plays and we put ourselves in those situations. But I am confident I can always make those shots.” Santa Monica was a team COC knew should win. But the fact that Bakersfield, the Western State Conference’s top team at the time, was next on its schedule might have caused such a close game. Jones’ shot guaranteed the Cougars a first-place tie going into the Bakersfield game. COC went on to beat Bakersfield in another close game 98-94. “Dwayne (Jones) is a dependable guy,” said Everett Bryson, the Cougars’ power forward/center. “He’s very aggressive and his talent just stands out to me. Our guys can get open, and he’s a hustler. He can get open and when he gets the ball, he’s confident he can make the shot.” Jones, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound sophomore and Cleveland High product, hit another important shot against Citrus College last week to tie the game at 66 with 38 ticks left. That set up Gino Riney’s 16-foot jumper with three seconds left for another dramatic COC win. “(Riney’s) shot won the game for us,” Jones said. “I was just lucky to get that shot to tie the game. Everyone on our team is a scoring threat. Teams like to focus on one guy. That can kill a team right there.” The Cougars (23-5, 9-0) travel to Santa Monica again at 5:30 p.m. today and will be looking to keep their perfect conference record intact. They face Bakersfield again next week. “We can’t be thinking of the next game,” Bryson said. “We want to keep our nice undefeated record and set our selves up to clinch the conference.” A win against Santa Monica (10-15, 3-6) not only could mark the only time the school has ever had a 10-0 record against conference foes, but it could set up a showdown for the championship Wednesday at Bakersfield. COC has never finished a season undefeated against its conference. The Cougars went 11-1 in conference play during the 2004-05 season when they one their second consecutive conference title. [email protected] (818) 713-3607160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – The ball landed in Dwayne Jones’ lap. Teammate Andre Murray’s shot had just come up short, bouncing off the rim when Jones got the rebound and put the basketball through the hoop at the buzzer. It was a routine offensive rebound and bucket for Jones, but more importantly it was the game-wining shot for the College of the Canyons men’s basketball team against Santa Monica College Jan 17. The Cougars escaped with an 81-79 win that night, but the moment might have changed the season for coach Howard Fisher’s team.